We were having friends over for dinner on a school night and I had grand plans of making roast chicken but… traffic was bad (it takes the longest time to travel the shortest distance in Sydney), the sapphire fell out of my engagement ring and time was marching on so by the time I arrived home I had no interest in making anything complicated!
I was first introduced to cooking en papillote (meaning in parchment) when I was living in France. It is basically dinner in a bag – all your ingredients are wrapped in paper/foil and baked. It’s a great way to keep all the flavours and moisture where it should be, they can be prepared ahead of time and best of all, there is hardly any washing up. My French mum’s recipe was salmon, finely sliced leeks, sliced parboiled potatoes, carrots or zucchini and a slosh of cream, or a variation thereof. This recipe has a more Asian influence because that’s what I had in the fridge and it was delicious, definitely something I will make again.
- 4 pieces of salmon
- 1 large bunch English spinach, sliced
- 165mL can coconut cream
- 2 tbs kecap manis (sweet soy sauce)
- 1 tbs dark soy sauce
- 1 tsp fish sauce
- 4 kaffir lime leaves
- 2 bird’s eye chillies, finely sliced (or more, to serve)
- Preheat your oven to 200C.
- On a baking tray, tear 4 pieces of aluminium foil about 30cm long and place on the tray. Tear 4 sheets of baking paper about the same size and place on top. I use both to make sure the parcels are air tight and no juices escape.
- Spread your spinach across all 4 parcels. Place the salmon on top and add the kaffir lime leave.
- Mix the liquids together, taste for seasoning and distribute between the packages.
- To wrap the parcels, bring two long sides of the baking paper together and fold over. Continue folding until you reach the salmon and then fold in the sides the same way (with the fold on top, not under). Leave a little room for the salmon to cook, the parcel will puff slightly while baking.
- Fold the foil in a similar way.
- Place the tray in the oven and cook for about 15 minutes, depending on the size of your salmon pieces. You can take a peek at a parcel and put it back in the oven if it’s not quite done.
- Serve as is, or with coconut rice.